Last time, I posted my house rules for D&D-style games; this is the list of rules I’m intending to implement for any game I run (where appropriate). I’m torn because I feel like this is a lot of tweaks, but they’re all fairly simple, and I don’t think people will have too much trouble with them. We’ll find out, though, because I’m going to be leaning on this as I move forward.
This is apparently from The Black Hack: don’t track ammunition, because that’s boring. Instead, when it would be thematically interesting to potentially run out, roll a die representing your typical supply (d6 for a quiver, maybe a d20 for a character with a big magical quiver stuffed full). If that die comes up 1 or 2, shrink the die for the next time. Once you roll a 1 or 2 on a d4, you’re out of ammunition. This can work for games like Shadowrun that actually want you to track bullets (yawn), and it can also complicate games like Edge of the Empire, where blasters are unlimited until you get a certain result (too abrupt; lacks drama).
In essence, you can take a critical success at any time–but I now have a critical failure to hold over you which can be enacted at any time. This can’t be banked and is opt-in–in other words, if you never use this rule in the first place, I can never use it against you.
I want to be able to give people awards for good ideas without unbalancing the game in terms of XP. I like Hero Points, but keeping track of anything more than “do I have a Hero Point” is a pain. In Savage Worlds I can just hand out another Bennie, of course, but for other systems I’m going to start using 5e’s Inspiration rule. I like that you can’t stack it, so it’s a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing. The idea of “advantage” translates to most game systems reasonably well, so it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Mooks Can’t Kill PCs
Basically, if a character doesn’t have a name, it can’t kill a PC. It seems like this would limit me as the GM but actually it means I can really go to town; even a party wipe just results in imprisonment or such. It also makes named characters more dangerous without actually giving them any bonuses over the mooks.
I used to play a lot of World of Darkness, and the GM would always do the questions/answer method of handing out experience. Each of us would get a little slip of paper with our XP written out, and then we would nominate the person we thought most deserved a bonus point. Whoever got the most votes got a bonus XP. We weren’t allowed to nominate ourselves or the previous week’s winner, of course, so that kept it rotating pretty evenly with no hard feelings. I always liked that system, because it gave a little extra incentive to roleplay.
Take the Initiative
A player who knows what they want to do as soon as their character’s turn comes around gets a +1 bonus to whatever that action is. This incentivizes readiness without penalizing people who legitimately need a few minutes.